Faith And Works

Q. I have a question regarding OSAS. Where do the scriptures regarding “faith without works are dead” and “you say you believe, the devil believes also and trembles” come in? To me they are saying that only belief is required for the initial act of receiving salvation, but after having received salvation there are expectations that must be met in order to maintain it. In other words you can’t just say I believe and let it go at that. I’m just trying to piece all this together and get a correct understanding.Your assistance is very much appreciated.

A. Either your position is not consistent with Scripture, or Jesus wasn’t being completely forthright when He was asked what work God requires of us. He said, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one He sent” (John 6:28-29).

The phrases you quoted are from from James 2. In the one about demons believing there is one God and trembling, James was referring to the fact that demons believe there’s one God because they’ve seen Him. But since they didn’t accept them as their savior, all they can look forward to is His wrath. That’s why they tremble. It’s not enough to believe that there’s a God. You have to believe that He died for your sins.

When He said that faith without works is dead, he meant that true faith will prompt us to do good things out of gratitude for what we’ve been given. The Holy Spirit, who dwells within us motivates us to do these things. So we don’t just say “I believe” and let it go at that. That’s the point.

While we’re admonished to behave in a manner that pleases God as a way of demonstrating our gratitude, nowhere does the Bible tell us that certain expectations must be met in order to maintain our salvation. The very idea negates the Doctrine of Grace and is a case of man trying to justify himself before God, to somehow prove that he deserved to be saved. Remember this simple formula. Faith plus work equals work (Romans 4:4-5). Our position before God is maintained by our faith, not our works.

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